4 Characteristics of a Faithful Servant
Jesus will say to some, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” so what is a faithful servant? Here are 4 characteristics of one.
One man said, “Showing up is 90% of serving because many people won’t even do that.” I see his point. One person that doesn’t show up is one person who won’t serve, so just showing up is essential to being a faithful servant. It might seem like the hardest part is all ahead of us when we serve, but when you serve, something happens. You get a wonderful feeling that you are making a difference for Christ. It’s suddenly not like work anymore, but more like a holy pleasure. Years ago when we started our nursing home ministry, we offered a Bible study. Now we offer church services for those who can go to church. In the beginning we had several members come…for the first week. Then only a couple the next time, but after only 3 weeks, I was all alone in doing this. I have to admit, I felt abandoned. Conducting a church service was a lot for one person, but then God sent me a friend who has been with me faithfully through the years. I simply prayed to the Lord of the Harvest and He answered my prayer. Now my friend helps me faithfully, and I can’t tell him what it means to me. More than once I’ve told him that someday, Christ will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:23).
If we make ourselves available, we’ll be more faithful, but oh how easy it is for the world and all its activities to eat up our time. All of us have to work, many have family, and we load up on other things too, so availability is important in being a faithful servant. My friend who helps me in our nursing home ministry makes himself available. It would be very difficult without his helping me at the nursing home, so the fact that he makes himself available shows me he is also faithful in other things, and that’s just what Jesus Christ is looking for when He returns. The Apostle John wrote in the context of Jesus’ coming, and said, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28). If you are abiding in Christ, you will be available for Christ.
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I believe the reason Jesus said that we must become as little children to enter the kingdom was because children have special qualities (Matt 18:3). They are teachable, they are humble, they are meek, and they are like sponges…soaking up as much as they can, so when we come to Christ, we are first given the milk of the Word. Later, we begin with the meat of the Word. This helps us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and His Word, but the beautiful thing about the Bible is, it’s shallow enough for a child to wade into without fear of drowning, but it’s deep enough for theologians to swim around in, and yet never touch bottom. The Word is so deep that 100 theologians could live a hundred million years and share their notes, and still not exhaust the Bible. I believe that since God is infinite, His Word is infinite, so no one can ever plumb its depths.
One thing about helping out, there is no gift for emptying diaper pails. Someone who believes they don’t have the gift of helps has no excuse when they refuse to hold the door open for the lady behind them. Just because I don’t have the gift of giving, doesn’t mean I can’t help someone in need. A faithful servant is a flexible servant, willing to change when the needs arises. I’m not a sailor, but I do know how to throw a lifesaver to a drowning person. I think you see my point. It’s just too easy to get out of something we should be helping with. If we say, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that” (James 2:16)? Sometimes we don’t help and cop out, saying, “I’ll pray for you.” Love is a verb. It’s what you do more than what you say. Remember Jesus said when “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt 25:36), and it was the same as doing it unto Him (Matt 25:40).
Jesus will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:23)? He will not say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have attended 3,456 Bible studies and listened to 6,230 sermons.” He will say well done, good and faithful servant for being faithful in the things that I command you to do (i.e. Matt 25:35-36, 28:19-20). He will see this as doing it unto Him (Matt 25:40). That’s the point. We do it for Him and to Him goes the glory (Psalm 115:1; John 15:8), so He asks us all to be faithful, to make ourselves available, to be open and remain teachable, and to be flexible in whatever situation God has placed us in. Remember that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). We were not saved by works, but a saved person will do works, and those works require us to be faithful, available, teachable, and flexible. We can’t do this on our own (John 15:5), but only through Christ can we do these things (Phil 4:13). That’s my prayer for you and prayer for me.